ImageSomeone asked me the other day. “Is Ian Bowler dead, then?” The relative silence of the galumphing, venal twonk since Christmas had led them to wonder if he had, perhaps, slid off this mortal coil like the yolk of a swan egg off the oiled fingers of a swan-egg-collector.

Yesterday, he made his reappearance. Reports of his death had been greatly exaggerated. Mainly because I greatly exaggerated them to see what would happen.

(Answer: nothing.)

Because we were talking to various people about doing various things with him, and because I was doing a panto, Sir Ian went necessarily quiet for a few months. However, he’s now back, answering questions once a week, and preparing for his big show.

Bowler, however, is a high-maintenance character. Most of what he talks about is topical, so his material dates very quickly. Nowadays, almost no one wants to hear his five-minute routine on the Alternative Vote system. But in mid-2011 it was ALL THE RAGE. By which I mean: A BIT OF THE RAGE.

So, he’s going to take some time off commenting on the world of the news, and concentrate on answering your questions. And if anyone wants to produce the web series in which I try to kill him, call me…

Which is where Melmoth comes in.

Melmoth Darkleigh is a character I created as the host of the *cough* award-winning *cough* In The Gloaming podcasts. When all of the other performers dropped out of the In The Gloaming Live! show at the Arundel Festival because they had ‘work’, it became Melmoth’s one-man show, in which he channeled the ghosts that haunted the venue.

Essentially, it was an excuse to exhume every character monologue I had, put them together, and drink a bottle of wine while I performed them.

The next year, I did an updated version of the show at the Brighton Festival, which included a few magic tricks I’d invented to sell the idea of a ‘haunting’. I was particularly proud of the ‘haunted Boggle’ in which, unable to get a ouija board, Melmoth got a Boggle to describe the ways in which people would die. (Dear Derren Brown, LET’S TALK…)

Before Christmas, I did a lot of work on mind reading for something I was working on, and that’s when it slotted into place. Melmoth should be able to read minds.

Rather than just being a cheap excuse for a parade of character comedy, Melmoth should be a cheap excuse for a parade of character comedy and a few bits of mental magic thrown in. There should be a real spooky seance with inexplicable things, lots of dark Melmoth humour, and a few characters haunting the place.

And thus Melmoth Darkleigh, Mind F*cker! was born. (The title is provisional)

And made his first appearance at Comedy At The Cottage’s Comic Relief special a couple of weeks ago. It’s still quite newborn, pink, and tender, but I’ll throw it out to you anyway. Here’s the first taste of Melmoth Darkleigh, Mind F*cker!